Bill Belichick’s hands-on approach to the NFL offseason may have sent Brandin Cooks packing.

The New England Patriots surprised a lot of people Tuesday by trading Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams, netting the 23rd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft in return. So, how did this deal materialize, and why now?

ESPN’s Adam Schefter provided context Wednesday morning, reporting that the Patriots actually tried to re-sign Cooks to a long-term extension but were unable to reach a deal.

According to Schefter, New England began trade talks with L.A. after negotiations fell through with Cooks, who is owed $8.5 million in the final year of his rookie contract. But it wasn’t until a chance meeting between Belichick and Rams head coach Sean McVay that a deal started to materialize.

As he does every offseason, Belichick has been on the road for several weeks scouting draft prospects, attending pro days at Division I powerhouses such as Ohio State and Georgia. The Patriots coach apparently returned to the Peach State on Monday, where he bumped into McVay and supposedly discussed trade scenarios involving Cooks.

At first blush, the deal appears to be a win-win for both sides: The Rams’ reported interest in signing Cooks to a long-term deal means they have big plans for the 24-year-old wideout, while New England now has an added asset it can use toward a big draft day move if the club sees fit.

Turns out there are more benefits to scouting prospects in person than meets the eye.

Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images